New short-term employment projections from the Idaho Department of Labor show Idaho’s healthy rate of job creation is expected to continue over the next two years. Total employment in Idaho — including self-employed and family businesses — reached a new high of 854,474 in the base period in 2022. This is projected to grow by 1.4% annually, reaching 878,100 in 2024.
The robustness and consistency of Idaho’s labor market has been a shining light in past years, with the state consistently leading the country in job growth. In 2020, COVID-19 led to significant job losses in a very short period of time — with almost all job losses occurring in March and April, but Idaho demonstrated its economic vitality with a quick rebound, returning to rapid job growth the following year. In fact, job growth in Idaho has been so strong that, even with the setback in 2020 during the pandemic, total employment in 2022 still reached and even exceeded forecasts.
Figure 1: Total employment in Idaho 2016-2022, with Idaho Labor 2024 projection
Idaho’s construction industry practically doubled employment over the past 10 years from 2011-2021, growing by 94% or 28,525 more workers. This is the largest percentage growth among Idaho industry sectors.
The construction industry stalled nationally and in Idaho during the Great Recession of December 2007 to June 2009. A slow construction recovery finally kicked in after jobs bottomed out in 2011 and 2012, with just under 30,000 in statewide employment.
Construction has always been a volatile industry with seasonal swings based on weather and business cycles affected by financing, consumer confidence and the national economy. Idaho’s construction employment history in Chart 1 cites longer expansionary periods than downturns over the past 20 years. The Great Recession recovery coincides with competitive hiring among most industries contributing to a well-documented labor shortage.
Karelyn Kruger, 45, is in her second year of a five-year training program as an electrical apprentice for Quality Electric in Boise. She’s creating a second career after working in retail and raising two children.
“I’m older than the average student,” she says with a wry grin. “I’m too old to go into debt and go back to college, so it seemed like a great opportunity to learn a trade, and they’d pay for my education while providing on-the-job training.”
Out-of-school youth between ages 16 and 24 now have numerous opportunities to learn new skills and increase their earnings through apprenticeships, on-the-job and vocational training and much more thanks to a federal program managed by the Idaho Department of Labor.
“Qualified individuals have so many options with this program,” said Keith Whiting, career planner.
Hundreds of young people are already benefitting from the program, with more than 1,000 served during the past two years. The state of Idaho receives annual funding – around $2.8 million in 2021 – in Idaho Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) funds to offer these services.
Nearly 30 Idaho employers, including H&R Block, Amazon, Boise State University and many more, will be at a multi-employer hiring event Thursday, Nov. 4, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., at Ten Mile Christian Church, 3500 W. Franklin Road in Meridian.
Open positions include customer service representatives, retail sales associates, hospitality workers, direct support professionals, health care workers, warehouse packers and associates, and route drivers. Some positions include the opportunity to work remotely.Continue reading →
Job seekers are encouraged to attend a multi-employer hiring event Tuesday, Aug. 24, from noon to 4 p.m. at the Boise Holiday Inn, 2970 W. Elder St.
Employers have openings in a variety of industries, including manufacturing, customer service, retail sales, hospitality and healthcare for such jobs as direct support professionals, route drivers, and packaging and warehouse workers.
Among employers participating are Holiday Inn, Scentsy, Sorrento Lactalis, DIRECTV, Amazon, O’Reilly Auto Parts, Truckstop.com, Ada County Sheriff’s Office, Durham Bus, Guerdon and many more.
More than 120 Idaho employers with nearly 3,500 jobs to fill are participating in an outdoor hiring event in Caldwell tomorrow, June 23.
The four-hour event starts at 9:30 a.m. and will run until 1:30 p.m. at the G.A.L.S. Quad softball fields, 4700 Skyway St., in Caldwell. The first half hour is dedicated to veterans and their spouses.
Among employers attending are the cities of Caldwell and Nampa, Boise State University, Amazon, CS Beef, Admiral Beverage Corporation (Pepsi), Ford Idaho Center – Spectra, Knife River, the Community Council of Idaho and more.
One day a few years ago, Chrissy Combs walked into Boise Mobile Equipment with her father, who was a welder there. She remembers him saying, “Anyone willing to train her?” Dean Bridwell accepted the challenge and that set Chrissy on a career trajectory leading to where she is now, in the middle of a three-year apprenticeship with McDowells Specialty Repair, an auto, furniture and upholstery service in Boise.
Though she didn’t know it at the time Chrissy would be trained as an auto-body repair tech at BME where she and Dean became good friends. She stayed for nearly eight years until she had to move on due to the economic downturn of 2008.
She landed a position with a bath installation company in the Treasure Valley. Doing this work Chrissy learned to match the paint colors of chipped and cracked bathtubs and tile. When she applied for the apprenticeship at McDowells, this is where owner Bert McDowell saw potential.